Dunleavy reverses various Walker work-stoppage orders - Must Read Alaska
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Wednesday, October 27, 2021
HomePoliticsDunleavy reverses various Walker work-stoppage orders

Dunleavy reverses various Walker work-stoppage orders

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Gov. Michael Dunleavy on Friday signed Administrative Order 309, rescinding certain administrative orders signed by former Gov. Bill Walker.

Walker, immediately upon taking office in 2014, issued Administrative Order 271, directing state agencies to halt, “to the maximum extent possible,” discretionary expenditures for six state projects:

  • Ambler Road Project
  • Juneau Access Project
  • Susitna-Watana Dam Project
  • Alaska Aerospace Kodiak Launch Complex
  • Knik Arm Crossing Project
  • Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline Project

Alaska Aerospace complied with Walker’s AO 271 and in January 2015 voluntarily returned $22 million of the FY 2012 capital appropriation to the state for re-appropriation. Although it lost that money to the State, in 2017 Walker approved the aerospace corporation’s request to be released from the order to allow limited investment at the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska, using its remaining funds for infrastructure to support a medium-lift capability should the corporation secure a new contract or to be used for existing customers.

The Ambler Road Project for accessing the Ambler Mining District was also frozen by AO 271 in 2014. Four years later, in February of 2018, Gov. Walker said he was planning to move the project forward, but it wasn’t until late November, 2018, after he was booted from office by voters, that he released the $3.6 million that he had frozen. The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority had, in August, requested that he release the money so the environmental impact statement process could be completed.

Gov. Dunleavy’s reversing of the Walker work stoppage on the Ambler Road Project signals his administration is more interested in “Roads to Resources” and economic development. Dunleavy has been a proponent of responsible resource development.

The Juneau Access Project was also unfrozen by AO 309. With the funding secured from the federal government, the road to Juneau had been ready for construction, but Gov. Bill Walker made the fateful decision to choose the “no build” option.

That no-build decision has long-term consequences, meaning the project can’t simply move ahead now that Dunleavy has signaled a new direction. It will require additional reversal of the subsequent federal decisions that sidelined the project because of Walker’s decision.

Dunleavy also reversed administrative orders relating to work on the Alaska Stand Alone Pipeline Project. The ASAP line was out of favor with Walker, as he focused on an export line. The ASAP is an instate gasline concept for Railbelt communities and could provide gas to Fairbanks, the Donlin Mine, and other communities.  A federal record of decision on the project was due months ago, but likely was put on hold until after the election. Very little has been done on the ASAP line during the Walker era, when the focus was more on sending gas to China.

The Walker Climate Change Strategy Team was also dismantled by Administrative Order 309. The group had produced a 37-page document that set targets for the state reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and prioritized an economy less reliant on fossil fuels. The Walker plan had also prioritized educating Alaskans about the impacts of global warming. The climate team had been headed by former Lt. Gov. Byron, who resigned during a personal scandal, and the Walker climate change advisor, who traveled back and forth from Seattle to her job in Juneau by jet.

Dunleavy also rescinded AO 292, Walker’s Commuter Rail Advisory Task Force, which was devoted to starting initial work on a commuter rail line between the Mat-Su and Anchorage.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Fantastic news!

  • Way to go, Governor, I guess Walker was more interested in Chinese food and his personal agenda than taking care of the development of the future of the State economic actions.

  • geez, walker really screwed up things in the state. it’s like he doesn’t want to economic progress and expansion in the state. These are solid projects which deserved to be fast tracked instead of delayed!!

  • Also recinded AO 278- Apprentice reporting requirements for State financed projects, as well as AO 296- Affirming the States commitment to protecting employee privacy. These two in particular scream nothing more to me than an middle finger from this administration geared toward Unions. I honestly thought this type of petty B.s. was below this administration. Lesson learned and noted.
    I was never a big fan of the Governors vague policy descriptions during his campaign and voiced that regularly on this blog. It resulted in me heading into the voting booth on Election Day and voting against a candidate rather than for one. I truly hope the republican party can give us someone to vote for in eight year’s, because this type of pettiness will do nothing but leave our party with a one term governor. Good going team.

  • Bill Walker bought the entire man-caused global warming HOAX hook line and sinker. His climate change advisor couldn’t stand living in Alaska so she commutes by a dirty, polluting jet back to the Lower 48. And old Byron Mallott, heading Walker’s Climate Committee, is MIA. The climate, with his teen-age girlfriend, got too hot. Thanks for keeping up with all this, Suzanne. Alaskans need to know how close to a catastrophe we really came with Walker.

  • Wow…just about the time you think all the fat and waste are being trimmed for grinder, a plethora of dumb and pricey projects rise from the ashes of unrealistic dreams.

    How much has been spent to date on these boondoggles? Hundreds of millions dollars down the rat hole for
    what? Bring back the moronic movie credits as well…..

    Save money, trim spending …this bonehead move will cost millions.
    The only thing that makes sense is the guv is trying to buy back the love of the construction industry. They lose
    out in the smaller budgetary pig trough, fewer apprenticeships, etc.

    Politically, this is classic Tuckerman trickery. Bring back to life these fiscally DOA projects, and put all yoir political buddies in charge. Great six figure jobs for all your steadfast and
    loyal sycophants. Do some more studies and never do anything. Sound familiar?

    Win-win…hire your buddies, buy construction industry love and keep all the corruption hidden in these doltish schemes. I double dog dare anyone to audit the money trail of these expensive projects. It would reveal the true motivation for this hypocritical decision. Save money you say….walk the walk guv.

    • No they won’t. Because they don’t pencil out and the state is broke. Yes projects are good for the economy. But only projects that make sense. Else it’s just construction socialism. We’ve done that a lot, and our economy is no better for all of our projects and building just to burn money.

  • Yes, we all agree that Alaska should be forever preserved with no new infrastructure? No new construction jobs for union hands? No jump start projects for the economy? Let’s do nothing, correct? Move aside pal, this guv is going to do something for Alaska and Alaskans. Your hero was Walker, the corrupt sob who hired all his buddies to put this state into a steep down spiral. You lost. Election is over. Your plane leaves tonight.

  • The Walker walked himself out of office. So glad he did. He took so much money out construction jobs, thousands lost work. Then he turns and tries to rob the fund with a POMV!

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